N°5 Culture Chanel

– By Sarah Bertness – 


There’s perfume and then there’s Chanel No.5– the bottle, the icon, and Coco. The first perfume carefully crafted from 80 different essences to be the “scent of a woman,” Gabrielle Chanel’s creation seemed to capture the je ne sais quoi of avant-garde Paris in the twenties, and the timeless sense and sensuality of a strong, independent lady.

Curated by Jean-Louis Froment, who’s history with Chanel includes past editions of CULTURE CHANEL, held successively in Moscow’s Pushkin State Museum for Fine Arts, in Beijing at the National Art Museum of China and more recently in the Opera House in Canton, the N° 5 exhibition at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo explores the history behind the utterly elegant glass bottle of fragrance. Inspired by Coco’s lost love and imbued with the artistic nuances of the decade that will forever be associated with creativity, vibrance and indulgence, N° 5 was very much a product of the era and Froment’s exhibition includes everything from Dali’s sketches of the scent to Picasso’s reminder that all things Cubist were also tied to Chanel.

The exhibition reads as a testament to it’s times, and to a woman who continuously made history that echoed far beyond the fashion world. As Froment so eloquently stated, N°5 is “Indefinable, the words that speak of it are abstract and the images which accompany it superposed on the thick layer of an artistic memory without time.” Froment’s glass-boxed trip through those memories is on view at the Palais de Tokyo through June 5th.

Sarah Bertness is a freelance writer covering the arts, music, fashion and culture. She has a love for all things avant-garde, late night rock and roll, wanderlust, and a good dose of fringe and gold sequins. You can follow her musings on Twitter @sarahbertness

Feature image courtesy of Chanel

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About the Author

Sarah Bertness is the Editorial Manager of social shopping platform LIKEtoKNOW.it, covering the arts, music, fashion and culture from Dallas in her spare time. She has a love for public art, all things vinyl, antiquing, wanderlust, and a good dose of color blocking and print clashing. You can follow her travels and musings on Instagram @sarahbertness.